Chris Coleman reacts to Sunderland's 'unacceptable' defeat at Birmingham City

Chris Coleman says Sunderland need to show more courage after another appalling away defeat.

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 10:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 10:10 pm
Robbin Ruiter tries to prevent Birmingham's opening goal

The Black Cats were outplayed and despite a late rally, fell to a 3-1 defeat that puts them right back in the relegation mire.

Coleman slammed the defensive mistakes that allowed Birmingham to coast to an easy victory and says he is 'very worried' by the lack of intent from his team all over the pitch.

He said: "I’m gutted. You know you will lose games occasionally but it was the manner which was surprising, given where we are and who were playing against. The lack of intent in our play all over the pitch was a huge disappointment and very worrying.

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"You need a bit more courage, winning those tackles, that is one side of it. The other side is the courage to take responsibility, have that bit about yourself," he added.

"There are no secrets to their play, they are a big, strong team, so you need to defend your own little patch, and we didn’t do that. That second goal, you’re 1-0 down, a couple of minutes on the clock before half-time, so dig deep, communicate, then you can regroup even though you have played poorly. But it is a simple goal, and the third is even worse. I can only say it is unacceptable. We can’t even begin to accept those defensive errors.

"If we'd come away losing, having had a go, that's one thing, but we didn't. It is hard to understand, we're in the bottom three, against a team down there, and we go missing for an hour. I can't accept that."

Coleman admitted that his team missed the experience of John O'Shea, who missed out through illness.

Lamine Kone endured a tough return to first team action in his place but the Black Cats boss defended the 28-year-old and hopes that a knee injury he picked up proves not to be serious.

Coleman said: "We missed John’s experience and positional play, but we didn’t lose 3-0 because of Lamine, who competed.

"He's come through a tough 90 there. It was hard for him, his first game back and everyone else decides to go missing for an hour. He'll be better for the game, he jarred his knee in the build-up to the second goal, he's in a bit of pain but it should settle down.

"We missed John though, and Billy Jones who has done well for us. All over the pitch, for an hour we were second best, I can’t understand that. These games are cup finals for us, if you can’t empty yourself for 90 minutes in a game like this you need to ask yourself questions. Back-to-back wins? Back-to-back 45 minutes we need at the moment."